Female orgasms are all too often seen as optional, while men’s orgasms are a necessity.
Sex is ‘finished’ when the man half of a heterosexual couple ejaculates, even if their partner is left unsatisfied. There are many reasons why that perception should change (basic fairness, to start with), but here’s another one: having an orgasm could raise a woman’s chances of conceiving.
According to Dr Robert King is a lecturer in applied psychology at the University College Cork, Ireland. He’s recently finished writing a book, titled Tulips at Midnight: Exploring the latest Research into the Nature and Function of Female Orgasm, which, as the name might suggest, is all about orgasms.
During his research, Robert found that when a woman has an orgasm, it could boost her chances of conceiving by as much as 15%. The lecturer states that when a woman orgasms, a unique reaction causes a man’s sperm to be ‘sucked’ into the dominant ovary, boosting the chances of conception.
It’s important regardless, if you care about your partner’s sexual pleasure, but this research could be an extra nudge towards closing the orgasm gap.
‘When I first started researching the female orgasm, it represented something of a puzzle,’ said Dr King.
‘The consensus in the field was that the female orgasm didn’t actually do anything, other than being a byproduct of male arousal.
‘Some argued that female orgasms mustn’t do anything, not even forge closer bonds between partners, because it’s hard to bring about.
‘But the fact that it’s sometimes tricky to achieve doesn’t mean that it’s not a vital evolutionary function. ‘And my research builds on growing evidence that female orgasm is intrinsically linked to fertility.
‘It’s my view that eroticism and intimacy are not optional add-ons for human sexuality and reproduction.’ Dr King studied a group of six women aged between 26 and 52, and asked them to record orgasms at home over a period of a month, on multiple occasions, using a vibrator.
Using a lubricant designed to represent semen, he measured the retention of liquid in the womb when a woman had an orgasm versus when she didn’t. When a woman climaxed, she retained up to 15% more of the fake ‘semen’ than when she didn’t orgasm.
It makes sense that the more sperm is retained, the higher the likelihood of getting pregnant.
Dr King suspects the phenomenon is caused by the release of the hormone oxytocin during female orgasm, which in turn causes ‘uterine peristalsis’, a mechanism that sees a wave of small contractions transporting the sperm to where it needs to be.
Dr King adds: ‘Sperm retention in the womb equates to better chances of falling pregnant, as the sperm is taken up into the uterus via the cervix.
‘And female orgasm significantly aids this process.’
Dr Visnova says: ‘There’s growing evidence of a link between female orgasm and pregnancy rates and it’s an area that warrants further research.
‘And it’s also important to remember the psychological benefits of orgasm when it comes to stress reduction. ‘When your body is stressed, it essentially goes into ‘fight or flight’ mode.
Hormones including adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine flood the bloodstream. ‘And they tell the body that because there’s a perceived threat, now is absolutely not a good time to fall pregnant. It’s an ancient, evolutionary reaction. And it’s a very real barrier.